Friday, July 22, 2011

Baked Lobster

What better opportunity to cook New England food at a quasi reasonable price than in New England? Wednesday night I had one of my mini dinner parties, and served lobster. I was excited to get to the bottom of the question of how to preserve the lobsters in the land of the living until dinner so one is not accused of poisoning the guests. I felt kind of stupid. According to the fish man at Big Y you just put them in the refrigerator. And sure enough, every time I happened to jostle the bag the lobsters jostled back. They were also exceedingly active during their final moments.
This recipe contains information on how to dispatch the lobsters, since the cook is not sticking them into a pot of boiling water. I'll spare my reader(s) the gory details and say that death is not instantaneous. I was grateful for the legendary blades. My guests, Cathy and her dad, Tom, were kind of fascinated in a horrified sort of a way. I actually felt bad that I had invited them to watch. The process did not get in the way of their enjoyment of the final product however.
Cathy had the best line about lobster. "Who was the first person to decide that these could be eaten?" she inquired as we were cracking and scraping and dipping. Who indeed? A Native American, no doubt, one of the New England tribes, maybe the Penobscots of Maine.
Anyhow, if I had never seen one, it wouldn't look like dinner to me, but on the other hand people eat much worse looking objects like grubs and beetles.
Tom lit the stove, and was able to get it done without burning his eyebrows off or creating great WHOOMPing noises. Tom amazed us with his stories of being able to buy a whole lobster dinner in Maine in the early 60s for $2. I weighed in with my story of lobster pizza.

Baked Lobster

1 one and one half pound live lobster
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup butter
lemon wedges
Melted butter

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
2. Plunge a heavy butcher knife into the thorax or center of the lobster where the body meets the tail. (There was some debate about this at Big Y. One man said you should stick the knife in behind their eyes, to take out the brain.) to kill the lobster. Quickly cut the body in half lengthwise. Break the lobster in half and remove the tough "sac." (I am not exactly sure what this is, and I don't have The Joy of Cooking to consult. Anyway, if it looks gross, inedible and is not white, take it out.)
3. Sprinkle the lobster with salt and pepper and dot the cut portions generously with the butter. Place, cut side up, on a baking dish and bake exactly twenty minutes.
4. Serve with lemon wedges and, if desired, melted butter.
One serving. Note: This method of baking lobster is better than broiled. The lobster is more moist and tender. (It was moist and tender.)

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